Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory (FCCL) UC Davis Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory (FCCL)

Since 1996, the FCCL has conserved and cultivated the Delta Smelt. Located 80 miles south of Davis near Byron, CA, one of the facilities main goals is housing a refuge population and research center for Delta Smelt. Visit the FCCL website here.

The laboratory is currently directed by Biological and Agricultural Engineering faculty member, Tien-Chieh Hung, Ph. D.

FCCL Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory
The Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory is part of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at UC Davis


What does the FCCL do?

The effort of culturing Delta Smelt dates back to 1992 when they were proposed for listing as an endangered species. In 2007, the Delta Smelt population fell to worrisome levels. The California Department of Fish and Game and the US Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, suggested culturing and genetically managing the species. This lead to the current refuge population housed at the FCCL. 

Delta Smelt at Fish and Conservation Laboratory UC Davis
Delta Smelt
(Hypomesus transpacificus)

Longfin Smelt is another example of a compromised wild species. However, the availability of Longfin Smelt to researchers is highly variable which resulted in challenges to their cultivation.

Longfin Smelt Fish and Conservation Laboratory at UC Davis
Longfin Smelt
(Spirinchus thaleichthys)

Refuge Population

Delta Smelt Refuge Population at Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory UC Davis Biological and Agricultural EngineeringThis program is a breeding and rearing plan for Delta Smelt with the ultimate goal of minimal derivation from the wild population. Nearly 300 families are managed per year and the refuge population has crossed beyond the 11th generation. See more information about the refuge population by visiting the FCCL website.

Research Projects

The main research at the FCCL centers on the basic biology of smelt as well as research into the improvement of culture techniques: fish marking, reproduction, behavior, feeding, aquacultural engineering and live prey culture.


The FCCL is also proud to collaborate with federal and state agencies, private companies, and research groups at UC Davis. Projects include--but are not limited to--natural stimuli, contamination, exposure, modeling, egg treatment, tagging, and food limitation.

The information presented here is from the FCCL Flyer and can be found on the FCCL website.

Fish Culture and Conservation Laboratory Team

Luke Ellison
Staff Research Associate Supervisor, FCCL Facility Manager/Animal Care Supervisor II
Troy Stevenson
Lead Laboratory Research Supervisor, FCCL Assistant Manager/Laboratory Research Supervisor I